Al Rayyan go down to Al Wahda in Round 4 of AFC Champions League


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Al Rayyan went down fighting to the UAE’s Al Wahda 0-1 in Round 4, Group E of the 2021 AFC Champions League at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa, India, on Friday.

Omar Khrbin's penalty conversion in the 71st minute gave Al Wahda full points to be on seven, while Al Rayyan stood on one point.

Al Rayyan had lost to Al Wahda in Round 3 by a 2-3 margin a few days earlier.

Al Rayyan’s Ahmed Abdelmaqsoud and Franck Kom were given the marching orders before 2017 AFC Player of the Year Khrbin netted the all-important goal.

A tame first half was largely devoid of the drama that marked the last 30 minutes of the teams’ previous encounter on Wednesday when Al Wahda scored three times to win that match, although everything changed during first-half injury time when Maqsoud was sent off.

Tim Matavz had come closest to opening the scoring when the Slovenian striker unleashed a volley from outside the area in the 24th minute that Fahad Younis was forced to palm over the bar.

Ten minutes later, Fares Jumaa, who had scored a dramatic winner for Al Wahda in the previous encounter, attempted to direct a header towards goal, only for his effort to be well off-target.

But the game changed as time ticked towards the interval when Abdulla Anwar attempted to skip past Maqsoud, only for the defender to lean on the forward as he tried to sprint past and, as a result of the foul, referee Ahmed Al Ali showed the red card.

Al Rayyan survived unscathed until the last 20 minutes, but their hopes of holding on for a draw ended when Kom was judged to have fouled Jumaa in the area and Al Ali pointed to the spot.

After booking the Cameroonian defender for his initial foul, the referee pulled out a second yellow card for Kom for dissent to send him off and leave Al Rayyan with nine players on the field.

Khrbin stepped up to confidently strike the penalty into the corner of Younis’ goal to give Al Wahda the win and, in the process, end Al Rayyan’s hopes of progressing to the next phase of the competition.

Ismaeil Matar’s sending off in injury time at the end of the game took some of the gloss off the win for Al Wahda.

Al Wahda next face Persepolis and Al Rayyan play FC Goa on Monday.